Friday, May 29, 2009

MTC Shirt Run, 5-23-09

The last time I made it to a shirt run was in August of 2007 when I took Jenn with me to get her shirt and lifetime membership. That would turn out to be one of the most miserably hot runs I can remember and the sad part is it was my idea to get Mark to schedule that day since Jenn only has the rare Saturday off. I love to go to these runs and see so many of my Mangum Track Club friends but just was not able to find one to fit my schedule since that day .

I was glad to see when Mark announced this latest one and was looking forward to going again. Karla and I have been doing our long runs together again since I started back running after the layoff back in January and this fit our training programs. I sent an e-mail to Margherita to see if she and Bill might be free. We have tried to get them to one for several years but she was never able to make it so I was happy to get her reply that she would finally be able to go with me.

Another friend Lisa Howell who ran with Jenn and I two years ago has been joining us on some of our long runs in Umstead and she was planning to return also so the five of us planned to meet for the ride down. You have to get up early to make it to these so we met in Cary at 6am. Margo was alone due to Bill having some back problems so me and the three ladies piled into Karla's Princess Carriage for the long ride to Mangum.

When we arrived in Ellerbe we saw that we wouldn't have time to make it to the dog pen for the shuttle so we drove straight to the start. It was getting close we thought but we would make it but as we arrived at the crossroads starting area at 7:57 the group was coming towards us on the road. Early starters! I can't believe they didn't wait for me. We quickly parked and prepared and in just a few minutes took off in pursuit of the group.

It was already a warm and humid morning and we started easily. As we approached the Mangun sign Laura was waiting to take our pictures. We took some of the ladies and then took off down the raod again. Laura ran with me just a minute and then took off quickly. A couple of miles later I stopped to water some weeds and by the time I caught back up to Karla, Margo and Lisa had begun to pull ahead. It was obvious they were feeling better and wanting to run faster than us so we settled in for a fun run along the road. We were steadily catching up to groups of runners and it was nice to see and greet friends along the way. Frank "The Professor" Sherrill rode by in his truck when we were about halfway and told me that I looked the best of anyone out there. I said it's the company I keep and he said that was what he was talking about. I have had the pleasure of bringing several beautiful ladies with me to join the club and run with me.

It was getting very warm, not nearly as bad as 2007 by any means but low 80's and humid is still uncomfortable. We were moving along and making a decent pace until just before the top of 1.4 mile Bethel Church Hill I began to fade. Karla waited for me at the top and we ran down together but on the former dirt road I began to fall back again. She waited for me to catch up again but as we came to the last little hill before the finish I had to let her go. Laura came up and ran the last 1/4 mile with me to the end.

Afterwards we hung around as usual for an hour or so eating pizza and getting caught up with old friends. Margo had a good run and got her shirt and is now a member for life in the awesome Mangum Track Club. Thanks to Mark and his volunteers for organizing, putting water along the course and having the food and drinks at the end for us.

I took just a few pictures. I was having a hard enough time keeping up with Karla

And here are some more pictures that Laura took

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Garner 10K, Part 2 of a busy weekend

Trying to get caught up here. I've had a lot going on at work lately and with the Ironman training a lot of my free time is gone.

So, the day after the Clayton 5k and 51 mile bike ride it was time once again for the race held in Garner on Mother's Day. Last year I ran a very good 5k on an unusually cool morning. This year the race added a 10k but I wasn't planning to run it until I was able to get a comp'd entry due to The Athlete's Foot being a sponsor for the race. Even up until race morning I hadn't decided if I wanted to race it or just run with Karla again. With the hard workout the day before I wasn't expecting to feel too good but there was also a chance of winning an age-group award so I made the decision to go out hard and see what would happen.

The usual suspects were here again. Bill, Margherita, Frank and Karla. Margo and Frank were running the 5k while Bill, Karla and I were in the 10K. My friend and co-worker Bobby Mack was also here to race for the 5k win and the $500 bonus for winning under 15 minutes. He had just won the Capital City Classic 10k the day before in 30:31 so he would be running on tired but confident legs.

The weather was cooperating again and although not as cool as last year was much better than yesterday in Clayton. Karla and I headed out on the course about 30 minutes before to run a warm up mile. Along the way we ran into Rodney and Angie who were out for their morning workout and to come cheer on a friend. When we returned to the starting area I was happy to see that The Trail Angel, Laura had arrived to race again.

But now it was time to get down to some serious racing business so we headed over to the starting line. I took off strong and was surprised at how good my legs were feeling. The first mile is mostly flat with a slight downgrade and then a nice downhill for a while to the one mile mark. I was hoping that it would be at least 8mp but was shocked to go through in 7:18. I was feeling good but that pace was way faster than I should be running. I backed off a little and settled in for the next 5 miles. I hard barely gone another mile when I heard footsteps quickly approaching. I looked and it was Bobby and Devin racing hard in the 5k. They had started 5 minutes after the 10K and were already blazing by us. Bobby said "Hi Joey" as they sped by and I could only marvel at the talent of those young guys.

The 2nd mile was still fast but a more reasonable 7:45. I slowed even more the next mile which has a little bit of hill to climb back up to the starting area but I was able to pick it back up again in the 4th mile. Up to this point no one had passed me since the start but between 4 and 5 I was feeling the effects of Saturdays workout and my lack of short distance race training. Two runners were approaching and they both passed me by the 5 mile mark. I was able to hold on to finish in 49:37, exactly 8mp. Normally that would be disappointing for me but with the comeback from injury and the training I am doing right now, I was very very happy with that time and effort.

Everyone had a good day. Bobby was able to pull away from Devin for the win and the bonus in 14:28 I think. And Laura was the overall womens winner in the 5k. The race went very well until they got to the awards ceremony and several mistakes were made. The worst was that Laura was not even recognized and got nothing. I was second in my age-group but not even listed because they had me entered mistakenly in the 5k so it looked like I was dead last in the 5k in the results.

Here are a few photos thanks to Frank

Monday, May 11, 2009

Clayton 5k. Part of a busy weekend

After the Half- Ironman last week, I really had no plans for the upcoming weekend, but I knew I needed to get in some good training and especially on the bike. Normally on a Saturday morning if I am not racing I am planning a long run with the Marathon Princess. But this weekend she was going to race the Clayton 5k on Saturday and the Garner 10k on Sunday so I was planning to put in a long bike ride. As I was thinking about how far and where I wanted to ride I decided, why not bike to Clayton, run the 5k and then bike home? It would be sort of like a reverse duathlon and I would get to run a little with Karla and see the Scott's too.

So I got up early and drove into Zebulon and parked at my church and just before 7am, started the ride over to Clayton. I estimated it to be around 20 miles and the route I chose would have little traffic and only 2 turns after leaving the block from ZUMC. It was a beautiful morning, around 70F already and nearly perfect for the ride. One good thing was that the morning sun rising was behind me so I didn't have to worry about the few cars on the road being blinded by the sunrise low on the horizon. I was feeling great and even though a little wind was picking up and in my face most of the way over, it was not enough to bother me. And I was being careful to drink plenty and take in some calories.

19 miles later I arrived in Clayton and after signing in for the race, I surprised Frank, Karla, Bill and Margo. We had a good time talking and then about 20 minutes before the race, Karla and I went for a warm-up mile before heading over to the starting line. It was turning out to be a hot morning, already in the 80's and humid. We were glad to get the race started and settled into our pace. Neither one of us are in great short racing condition right now and the pace was a little slow but you have to start getting into racing shape somehow so why not race!

I'm glad I had decided to run with Karla because I don't think I could have run much faster anyway and especially after riding the bike to the race. The course is a bit hilly too. No major hills or steep climbs, just lots of little rolling hills. Our pace was pretty steady and even the first two miles but we slowed a bit on the 3rd. It is predominately uphill and the heat was taking it's toll. It was a good time and we all hung around for the awards ceremony so Margo could get her award for winning her age-group. Then it was good-bye and I climbed back on the bike for the ride home.

It was a little easier going the other way with the wind at my back more than not. It's also easier climbing up from the Neuse river heading away from Clayton. After getting back to Zebulon I added another spur to the course which added another 12 miles onto the 19 back giving me a great workout for the day of 51 miles of biking and 4 miles of running. I felt great, got in a good workout and spent some time with friends. A great way to start the weekend.

Here are a few more photos from the race

Sunday, May 10, 2009

So how was the test at White Lake?

I have to give it a "D" but I'm not sure if I really deserve that. It's not an "F" because at least I did finish the race and it's not a "D-" because I had a really good swim.

So without boring you with too many details, well, ok maybe a few too many. Jerry and I had a nice ride down on a beautiful day with the top down on his Mitsubishi Eclipse. Got checked in and found our dorm we would be sharing with a nice group of people that Margo hooked us up with. Had a lot of fun hanging out and talking until bedtime. Great night to hang out on the patio.

We were greeted by a rainbow at sunrise as we made final preparations. I have only been swimming in my wetsuit twice before and once in a race and that was 6 years ago so I was a little surprised to be reminded how restricting it is to wear and no, I have not gained any weight since then. I just felt like it was hard to breathe in the thing. The water was just 2 degrees below the limit and normally I would have opted not to wear it but I felt I needed to practice since I will need it in Coeur D"Alene.

Once I got started on the swim I became more comfortable and soon settled into a good rhythm. My only problem was siteing the buoys since I had forgotten to pack my contact lenses. The water became a little choppy halfway through but I had no problem with that having grown up swimming in open water. When I finally found my way to the pier and checked my watch, I was about 1:30 faster than my prediction so I was very happy with that and began my long run over to the transiton area. It was here I discovered what I really need to practice. Getting OUT of the wetsuit. This turned out to be quite an ordeal and nearly had me giving up in frustration. I finally freed myself from it's rubbery grasp but it cost me several minutes with over 7:30 in transition time to the bike.

I started easy on the ride to allow myself time to get my breathing and heart-rate calmed down and then worked my way up to speed after about 2 miles. The course is very flat and I was making good time. The road was in good shape except for some unavoidable and jarring cracks for several miles on hwy 41. At 10 miles I was well ahead of the pace I was hoping for but we did have the wind at our backs. Once we made the next turn we would have a headwind or forward crosswind for most of the remaining distance. At first it was just a bit annoying and at 20 miles I still had a decent pace going but the work to keep that pace was beginning to take it's toll. I tried to pick up the pace but could only speed up a little for a short time and would be forced to slow again. The endless grind soon wore me down. There is no coasting on this flat course and with the wind if you stop pedaling you stop moving very quickly. To make matters worse my right quad was screaming at me the last 15 miles to stop but of course I had to ignore it.

I was very happy to finally make it back to transition. With no wetsuit to peel off, it went much faster and I was fairly quickly out on the run course. Although my goal time was already lost, I still felt I could have a decent time with a good run. Things started off well enough although a bit slow. I was running well for the first 4 miles but then it just went from bad to worse. My left hamstring kept tightening up on me to the point where I could not run more than 100 to 200 yards without having to stop and walk to keep it from cramping so it turned into a long, slow and painful death march to the finish.

Beside the fact that I am weak on the bike and the wind magnified that, I was also very dehyrated. With the wind, mostly overcast on the bike and not too hot, I never noticed I was sweating on the bike but that was not the only reason I wasn't drinking nearly enough. The main reason is I just do stupid stuff and then pay the price.

Bill and Margo came down and did the race too and both finished in front of me. It was amazing to see Margo run so well just two weeks after running the St Louis Marathon in sub 4 pace. Jerry was very strong on the bike as usual and so focused that he didn't even notice when he whizzed by me at about the 42 mile mark.

So thats how it went. Now I have to take the lessons learned and train hard the next 4 weeks.